On October 26, the people of Regina (you!) will elect a Mayor, City Councilors, and School Board Trustees. Heritage is in Ward 3. For full information on how and where to vote, go here.
This year, in lieu of holding a public forum, the Heritage Community Association has opted to engage candidates for City Councilor in Ward 3 in some online Q & A about issues relevant to our neighbourhood.
There are 5 City Councilor candidates in Ward 3. We contacted all of them by email, facebook and twitter (if they have it).
Here are the Big Questions we’ve asked, along with responses from the candidates who’ve gotten back to us so far. This page will be updated as/if more responses come in.
HCA: What will you do to ensure Heritage continues to be an inclusive, diverse community as housing costs rise?
Amanda Baker: The Heritage portion of Ward 3 is an important area that needs to be considered in the upcoming election. It is a unique area that includes both residents, businesses and heritage properties.
Also, the close proximity to the downtown core must be taken into consideration. I would like to see more infill development and
revitalization through out the area. I feel this will add to the vibrancy of the area and highlight this unique historical area of Regina as an attractive place for people all over Regina to enjoy.
The residents of the Heritage neighbourhood have many challenges including crime, poverty and unemployment. The City of Regina has many community partnerships with various social housing organizations. I would continue to support these partnerships and examine if they are working effectiviely, if they need more funding from the City and where these partnerships can grow. Also, there are some beautiful character homes in the area. We need to see if there is a way to maintain these buildings for future generations to enjoy. There may be some things we can do in terms of tax incentives in the area for home maintenance so that folks can continue to live in their homes that are properly maintained. This includes low income rental properties. These people must not be forgotten about and making sure they can afford housing is of the utmost importance.
Andrew Stevens: I think the issue of gentrification is often lost in the City’s discussions about development and growth. Still, we can look to the Official Community Plan for some guidance, specifically the objective of developing “complete neighbourhoods”:
Create safe and inclusive neighbourhoods that are easy to get around and that have a mix of housing choices, amenities, and services. Community input will drive a proactive approach to city planning.
As community members and developers eye 11th avenue for commercial development we need to keep this in mind. That means ensuring economic growth doesn’t displace people from their homes or communities. New affordable housing units, or repurposed existing dwellings, must be considered in any development plan for Heritage.
As the Councillor for Ward 3, I will insist that Council focuses on advancing affordable housing policies that are appropriate for areas with built heritage and character homes. And it’s important for Council to champion this issue, because by itself the market will not and cannot solve these and other forms of economic inequities.
HCA: In May 2016, the City of Regina voted to act on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report. What will you do to ensure this commitment results in meaningful, timely action?
Amanda Baker: I am glad to see the City taking leadership and voting to act on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconcilliation Report. When elected I will closely monitor what outcomes and progress has been made since May. I would then continue to move this forward and support any initiatives to do so as I do feel very strongly that this is an important document that needs attention from City Hall. As a person who has lived almost my whole life in Regina I have strong ties to many people in the aboriginal community and I am familiar with some of the struggles and challenges they can face. The Regina & District Chamber of Commerce where I work has afforded me to participate in events like Smudge Walk for the past few years as well as mentoring and arranging for business community members to mentor entrepreneurship students at Scott Collegiate. Giving back to the community and volunteering is very important to me.
Andrew Stevens: Advancing recommendations of the TRC’s Report is one of the reasons I’m running for Council (see http://www.andrewstevensward3.ca/platform). Unfortunately it has received little attention during this election and the previous Council has not done enough to champion the Report or the spirit of reconciliation. What are some of the things I would work to advance from the TRC? Here’s a start:
- Call to action #57: Professional development and training for public servants;
- Work with local anti-racist groups to consider ways of addressing allegations of racialized policing practices;
- Call to action #75: develop and implement strategies and procedures for the ongoing identification, documentation, maintenance, commemoration, and protection of residential school cemeteries or other sites at which residential school children were buried;
- Call to action #43: adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation;
- Call to action #77: collect copies of all records relevant to the history and legacy of the residential school system, and to provide these to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
This means starting with a motion from Council supporting the principles of the TRC and committing to implement the recommendations embedded within the report. From there, identify and implement specific calls to action pertaining to municipal governments.
HCA: How will you support the continued development of a thriving local economy in the City’s central neighbourhoods?
Amanda Baker: I will encourage infill development and growth through out ward 3. We need to keep our business community doing well to contribute to the local economy. However, we need carefully manage growth by ensure we are also protecting heritage properties and the identity of the neighbourhood. This will be done through community consultation and engagement. We need to make sure development that does happen has the correct infrastructure to support it and is sensitive to the existing streetscapes and neighbourhoods.
Andrew Stevens: There are a number of exciting examples in Heritage that showcase the value of small business and community development. To see these institutions thrive I would embrace the Official Community Plan’s definition of “Economic Development”, which includes the following priorities:
- Embrace built heritage and invest in arts, culture, sport and recreation;
- Foster economic prosperity;
- Achieve long-term financial viability; and
- Optimize regional cooperation
This involves investing in infrastructure like roads, sewers, water, and sidewalks. It also means enhancing public transportation and bike access. Advancing this objective also involves embracing the OCP’s definition of “Social Development”, which prioritizes:
• Developing complete neighbourhoods;
• Supporting the availability of diverse housing options; and
• Fostering economic prosperity.
What this also means is defining economic growth as enhancing the quality of life for everyone in the community.
HCA: What approach will you take to ending homelessness in our city?
Amanda Baker: I will work with the other members on Council to make sure we can eradicate homelessness in Regina altogether. I think we can accomplish this and I am pleased to see the Mayor has included this initiate as part of his platform. This is a plan I support and it will involve working closely with community partners who are already doing so much in this area.
Andrew Stevens: Please see my homelessness policy at http://www.andrewstevensward3.ca/end_homelessness.